Review: Blue Nessie Desktop USB Microphone

by Strother Bullins. Nessie is certainly one of the most visually striking USB microphones on the market, yet its aesthetics aren’t without functional purpose. Designed as a desktop cardioid condenser microphone with incorporated stand and a variety of useful physical features, Nessie is at home on both the singer/songwriter and the school principal’s desk—as such, it serves well as an institution’s “only USB microphone.”
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Nessie is certainly one of the most visually striking USB microphones on the market, yet its aesthetics aren’t without functional purpose. Designed as a desktop cardioid condenser microphone with incorporated stand and a variety of useful physical features, Nessie is at home on both the singer/songwriter and the school principal’s desk—as such, it serves well as an institution’s “only USB microphone.”

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Key features include a proprietary 14mm capsule with maximum SPL handling of 110 dB and incorporated zero-latency headphone amplifier with eighth-inch TRS jack, providing the user a 15 Hz-22 kHz frequency range in monitoring/playback. Nessie’s base incorporates a large headphone volume pot that is backlit when connected via USB to its host CPU. Other tactile features include a well-placed instant mute button, handy “serpentine adjustable head” (thus the Loch Ness moniker) with built-in pop filter, and a three-mode recording switch. The latter switch offers music, voice and flat EQ tonalities.

Most importantly, Nessie’s built-in adaptive processing is described by Blue to produce “expertly finished sound, without need for additional mixing or editing” thanks to its automatic EQ, de-esser and level control while recording. This is a particularly attractive feature for institutional use, where the end users are likely not audio engineers and where they may, for example, simply desire to record podcasts, phone tree announcements, etc., with “finished” results.

In use, I found Nessie an overall flattering microphone to most all sound sources. It captures spoken word and vocal-range sound sources particularly well and its adjustable head makes for perhaps the best desktop USB microphone I’ve used. From a visual standpoint, it looks great on a desk, and particularly great in modern, sleek offices and environments; Blue’s knack for creating artistically-styled transducers are particularly appealing in this desktop USB mic form.

If there are any drawbacks to Nessie over other similar USB offerings, it’s in its desktop design; users won’t be, for example, placing it on a stand as an overhead ensemble microphone. Decidedly so, Nessie isn’t a USB microphone for everything, which makes it the ideal option for many niche applications.

Finally, Blue has a well-earned reputation for building great- and often unique-sounding microphones, and buyers can rest assured that they have a USB audio capture tool built for years of solid service. If voice capture via USB is your primary need, you really can’t go wrong with Nessie at an arguably amazing average price of $80 street.

Blue Microphones | www.bluemic.com